Jaguars Mailbag: Who Makes the Most Sense As Potential Offseason Trade Targets?

The Jacksonville Jaguars are entering a pivotal offseason, so we once again take a look at the most pressing questions facing the squad. This week, we look at potential trade targets.
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Each week during this year's offseason, Jaguar Report will take Jacksonville Jaguars-related questions from our readers across social media and answer them in a question-and-answer format, giving readers a chance to have their voices heard.

You can submit your questions every week by tweeting them to the Jaguar Report Twitter handle.

This week we take questions on which NFL stars make the most sense as potential trade targets, what Trevor Lawrence and early success could possibly look like, and more.

Q: Do you see the Jaguars trading for any stars on teams that are in cap hell like a Marshon Lattimore?

A: I think if any team is set up to take advantage of the mass exodus of veterans from cap-strapped teams, it would be the Jaguars. They have the resources (11 draft picks, most over $70 million in available cap space) to make a move for any team that has to ship off one of its high-priced stars. 

They also have the incentive to make the move considering they have the NFL's youngest roster and a limited amount of current star power on the roster. New head coach Urban Meyer will want to win quickly, so would it really be surprising to see the Jaguars make a big deal like we saw the Cleveland Browns make for Odell Beckham Jr. during their own rebuild process?

In short, I do think it would make sense for the Jaguars to make a trade with teams who have to make tough decisions. Whether a trade makes more sense for those teams instead of an outright release will be a question that has to be answered, but it makes sense for the Jaguars to engage teams. 

In terms of Marshon Lattimore specifically, he would be a logical fit. He played for Meyer at Ohio State and was one of the NFL's most dominant cornerbacks at the start of his career. He hasn't been quite as dominant in recent seasons, allowing seven passing touchdowns in 2020, but he would fit a major need for the Jaguars and has the talent to bounce back to his No. 1 cornerback ways. 

Q: Who do you think are some possible steals in the draft that could be found after round 3?

A: Good question! I am still somewhat early in my draft work in terms of which non-top 50 prospects I've seen, but here are a few names I loved from either this past college season or a previous year who I haven't seen talked up as major prospects. 

North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden is so electric. His size will dro him (he is just 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds), but he stands out every time he has the ball in his hands and scored 31 touchdowns over the last two seasons -- that is impressive regardless of the competition. I think he could have a similar impact to Jakeem Grant of the Miami Dolphins, who has carved out a nice career for himself.

East Carolina offensive tackle D’Ante Smith is a big riser since the Senior Bowl, but perhaps he sees his draft stock end up like Ben Bartch's and instead finds himself picked early on Day 3. He has experience at left tackle and terrific athleticism and tools for the position and looks like a new-age tackle with his long, lean frame.

Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell is one of the most dynamic running backs to touch a college football field in the past several seasons and has a bit less mileage on him due to opting out of the 2020 season to prepare for the draft. He is a true homerun threat as both a rusher and a receiver and would be a perfect compliment to James Robinson.

Finally, Oklahoma edge rusher Ronnie Perkins is entering the NFL after 16.5 career sacks with the Sooners. He may be knocked on some boards due to a suspension during his time at Oklahoma, but he has the traits to thrive as an edge rusher at the next level thanks to his explosiveness and instincts. 

Q: How much say will Karim Kassam actually have in team building? Will he be a key contributor to decision-making, or is he more or less just an analytics consultant?

A: I would imagine he will have a prominent voice, though not one on say the level of Trent Baalke or Urban Meyer. He will report to Tony Khan directly instead of reporting to owner Shad Khan like Baalke and Meyer (and Tony Khan) all will, which indicates some buffer between the parties. 

With that said, Kassam's role seems like he will have some sort of tangible impact on Jacksonville's football operations. Whether that is any influence on major moves remains to be seen, but the Jaguars have valued analytics in past years and Meyer seems like the type of coach who wants every advantage he can possibly get. 

In short, I think Kassam will play a big role. He may not be a decision-maker, but the team appears set to utilize him in a number of different roles to help give the Jaguars every possible insight and advantage they could get. 

Q: Should the Jaguars make a trade for an elite player like the Bills did for Stefon Diggs last season? Who would make sense here?

A: Should they? I argued above that they are in a strong position to do so, but they should only do it if it makes sense from both a value and fit perspective. One of the biggest mistakes the past Jaguars regimes made was constantly bringing players into the locker room who didn't fit the team's scheme or culture. Just because a player is a star in one place doesn't mean he will be in another. 

The Stefon Diggs situation is a rare win-win where the player thrives in a new spot and his old team is properly compensated. If the Jaguars can strike a reasonable deal like that for an ascending or already top player, such as Orlando Brown or Stephon Gilmore, then they should go for it. I also think Zach Ertz makes sense for the Jaguars, though he would have to come at a reduced rate compared to the others. 

In short, the Jaguars should be willing to talk whenever stars are made available for trade. This doesn't mean they should overpay just because they can, but they should at least be in on the conversation. 

Q: Do we tag Cam Robinson? 

A: I don't think so. I think the Jaguars either sign Robinson to a reasonable multi-year extension or let him hit free agency. Tagging Robinson would make a decent amount of sense for both sides, but the Jaguars may not want to enter into an unpredictable one-year situation at the left tackle position. Tagging Robinson would keep him in Jacksonville for a reasonable price, but it would also give him a lot of leverage in 2021 if he plays well. 

Q: Do you see the Jaguars moving up in the draft on Day One or Day Two to get more quality guys, or do you think they stand pat like last year & keep all 11 picks?

A: I think the Jaguars will let the board fall to them, but I am not sold they make any moves up. The Jaguars under Khan have valued high draft picks and Trent Baalke himself doesn't have a lengthy history in terms of draft trades. 

This year would also be a tough year to make any major trade in terms of the draft. Due to the limited regular season and ensuing offseason, this year's draft has turned an already immensely unpredictable event into truly anyone's best guess. It is already valuable to have more swings at the plate when it comes to the draft but even more to do so this year. My current guess is Jaguars don't make any significant trades when it comes to the draft.

Q: Do you expect any big free agent signings?

A: I do. The Jaguars simply can't go into 2020 with less than a handful of contracts over $10 million APY and try to convince people they are putting a competitive team together -- not for the second year in a row. They have too many holes and more than enough cap space to fill them, and there is an argument to make that free agency may actually be a safer avenue than the draft this year.

Q: Are the Jags trying to be a complete team in year 1 of the rebuild?

A: It depends on what your definition of a complete team is. If they have a multi-year plan and vision in place, then no I don't see how it is reasonable to ask for their end goal to come together so quickly. Not with a rookie quarterback and not right after a 1-15 season. 

With that said, I also don't think the Jaguars will slow play this rebuild as they did in 2013 and 2014. I'd expect them to be aggressive in quickly improving the top of the roster to give them a chance to remain competitive next season. Shad Khan has already said he wants to see some early success, and Meyer isn't a coach who would take a job with an expectation of going 4-12 in Year 1. 

Q: What would a successful rookie season for Trevor Lawrence look like? 

A: First of all, a successful year would be one in which Lawrence makes it through the entire season healthy. The season-ending injury to Joe Burrow last season deflated all the positive momentum from his rookie season and has added an obstacle for both him and the Bengals, which is likely the worst possible scenario for any rookie quarterback. 

Secondly, I think you want to see Lawrence look like a No. 1 pick. Don't expect him to be a top-12 quarterback as a rookie, but there are lofty expectations that come with being the draft's top selection. This means improving throughout the season but also showing that you belong off the bat. 

If Lawrence can stay healthy, guide the Jaguars to near a .500 record, and make improvements on his game throughout the course of the season, then I would call that a major success for the Jaguars and Lawrence each.

Q: Should we expect any changes on ST based in Urban's history? Are his ST usually just okay? Good? Great? Difference-making?

A: Urban Meyer loves special teams. Loves them. You can make an argument that he is going to be as big of a fixture on that part of the team as he is on the offense because this was exactly the case at Ohio State and Florida. Overall, his hiring is a good omen for that side of the ball.

Q: What are the chances we would trade for Kenny Golladay or Allen Robinson if they were to get tagged? Maybe for a 2nd?

A: I think low. The Jaguars need to add a wide receiver, but it remains to be seen whether they want to trade any draft capital for a perimeter player who they will immediately have to pay. This is an important position but it isn't one that is as important as say left tackle, where it would be more reasonable for the Jaguars to make a double-down investment. I think the Jaguars should pursue each player if they hit the free agent market, but I wouldn't trade for them if tagged.

Q: What do you think about Cam Newton as a backup?

A: I don't think Cam Newton really wants to be a backup at this point of his career, at least not in the sense of a backup who doesn't have any chance to compete for the starting gig. If Newton signs somewhere, I think it will be somewhere he can compete for the starting gig. 

Q: What do we do with Gardner? Trade? Backup? Starter for 6 games?

I think they keep Gardner Minshew as a cheap backup, but only after making him available in trade talks -- but I also think they add a veteran quarterback who Minshew will have to beat out in camp. The Jaguars need a wise mentor behind Lawrence, and Minshew still has to earn a spot on the roster after a rough 2020.